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Here's another new use for graphene (that will probably never happen): stopping bullets. University of Massachusetts-Amhers researchers have found that everybody's favorite potential wonder-material vastly outperforms steel and even kevlar armor. Testing the ultra-lightweight, 1-atom thick carbon...

November 28th 2014 at 5:59pm 0 Comments
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Your smartwatch may may be the height of wearables today, but it can't get you out of a supervillain's elaborate death trap. That's where Patrick Priebe's LaserWatch comes in, which is like something out of a Bond flick. On the surface, it looks like any other digital watch. But hit a button and y...

November 21st 2014 at 12:34pm 0 Comments
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Twisted laser beams have been used to send up to 2.5 terabits per second of data over fiber-optic cables, but the technique has never been worked very well over the air. Researchers in Vienna managed to use those bizarro quantum laser properties, also known as orbital angular momentum (OAM), to be...

November 12th 2014 at 6:27am 0 Comments
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Ray guns are high on the list of "physics gone wrong" movie tropes. Unlike the real thing, the blasts are much slower than light, visible in clear air and (depending on who's firing) highly inaccurate. However, laser physicists in Poland have just shown what a powerful laser really looks like. Tho...

October 23rd 2014 at 9:20am 0 Comments
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Lockheed Martin has an affinity for lasers -- that much is apparent. Not satisfied with simply having ground-based energy weapons, though, the outfit has recently tested its airplane-mounted death ray over the skies of America's High Five, Michigan. The Aero-optic Beam Control (or ABC, as its frie...

September 16th 2014 at 5:17am 0 Comments
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An art installation from the Koln International School of Design aims to give us a feel for the ethereal radio waves we take for granted every day. Binairy Talk, created by Niklas Isselburg and Jakob Killian, uses a sound generator and pulsing device to fire smoke rings at a laser sensor. Those ar...

July 25th 2014 at 5:44am 0 Comments
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Mounting laser weapons on a Humvee to shoot down drones might seem like a military pipe dream, but the US Navy has now awarded contracts for just that. It figures that unfriendly armies will soon be equipped with inexpensive camera- or bomb-equipped UAVs, and wants a highly portable way to counter...

June 18th 2014 at 9:18am 0 Comments
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What with their simple genetics and ultra-brief lifespan, poor fruit flies are the go-to insect for mad scientists. Researchers have discovered a new way to make their lives miserable with a mind-altering project called FlyMAD (not kidding). There's even an overly-elaborate plan: motion tracking c...

May 27th 2014 at 3:46pm 0 Comments
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We imagine that on May 16th, 1960, when the first laser was fired, no-one involved was particularly concerned with the invention's impact upon pop culture. After all, proving Albert Einstein's 1917 theory about amplifying light by the stimulated emission of radiation was probably seen as a bigger...

May 16th 2014 at 4:00pm 0 Comments
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While we're monkeying with our MakerBots, large corporations have much better toys to play with. They insist on calling them "additive manufacturing" machines but, truth be told, they're just Replicators with a superiority complex. They sinter or melt powdered or solid metals using lasers or elect...

May 7th 2014 at 10:33am 0 Comments
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A 69-foot, 3,500-year old granite obelisk has stood in New York City's Central Park for 130 years, and it's never, ever, been cleaned. The ancient pillar is deceptively fragile, and conservationists have been hesitant simply to hose it down. The solution? Blast it with lasers, of course. After car...

April 29th 2014 at 11:08pm 0 Comments